Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/807

This page has been validated.

which time, it is stated, no further accidents of the kind have occurred.

Very often, when birds are kept in cramped quarters, they can not be induced to show off any of their peculiar habits, much less take to breeding. This was well seen in the case of the herons a year or so ago in the London gardens; for, as soon as these birds were transferred from their limited confines to the large new aviary constructed for them, and inclosing natural waters, trees, and shrubs, they resumed at once some of their more natural habits, while the ibises built in the trees and reared their young. Some mammals and birds bear confinement in narrow habitations better than others; and one can easily imagine that a sloth would tolerate a curtailment of his liberties far better than many species of monkeys would do, or some varieties of parrots than the freedom-loving sea-fowl.

At the Bishop's Gardens in Havana, Cuba, I remember very well a large aviary, in which were confined a considerable number of wild ducks, sea-gulls, and similar birds, and it was a delight to watch them, as they appeared to be fully as contented as in their native wilds, and would sport in the inclosed sheet of water, or preen themselves on the rocks, all day long. Then, some creatures bear being continually looked at better than others, while some have such highly nervous organizations that they should be placed only in the more secluded nooks of the garden, and even then have the means of withdrawing from the public gaze for at least a time. As owls never outgrow their fondness for a hollow stump, bears their climbing-poles, parrots their swing-boughs, and musk-rats their marsh-ways, we should make every endeavor to bring all our ingenuity to our aid in imitating as closely as possible in the gardens their natural conditions. The writer has during his lifetime kept a great many animals in confinement, of all manner of varieties, from a pocket gopher to an eagle, and from a ring-tailed howler-monkey to a turkey-buzzard, and has learned that, notwithstanding the creature may be abundantly supplied with his proper food, you can kill a star-nosed mole if you do not give him the opportunity to burrow in moist, wet ground; or render a porcupine utterly miserable if you do not serve him with the stump of an old tree, some ten feet above the ground, to stretch himself out upon.

Experience has taught us that the best way of exhibiting almost all kinds of reptiles, from the largest varieties of snakes and pythons down to the most diminutive species of lizards and hylas, is in that style of cage wherein the front and sides are formed of large single panes of clear glass. This allows an excellent view of the inmates, and full opportunity to watch and study their habits. On the other hand, the alligators, as representatives of